Owasso business cutting jobs

Friday, December 28th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

National Steak and Poultry, the city of Owasso's largest private employer, has plans to cut its entire night shift next February.

Some 200 people could lose their jobs. News on Six reporter Steve Berg says it's going to hit the area's Hispanic community extra hard. Susana Argomaniz and her family say they were one of about 50 families that moved to Owasso from California to work at the plant. They wanted a better life and they had it. But now, the word about the night shift has everybody worried. "It's pretty rough, because everywhere you go, there's no other topic except this, what's going to happen, what people are going to do everyone's pretty nervous don't know what to expect."

The majority of the plant's employees are Hispanic. And many of them, including Susana, speak little to no English. It will be tough enough to find work with the current economy. And her son says the language barrier makes it even tougher. "Now that they see themselves unemployed they don't know what to do, where to seek help." Hector Medina runs Catholic Charities in Tulsa. They're closely involved with the area's Hispanic Community, and say they've been inundated with calls. "We offer services of translation but it will overwhelm us when something like happens, we are not prepared to handle the amount of people who are going to be unemployed now."

Susana used to work on the day shift where her job was safe. But she switched to the night shift so she could care for husband, who's ill and can't work. Now she might be laid off with no severance money, no health benefits. "There's nobody to take care of my dad, if she's wants to work in the evening, it will be very, very hard to find."